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Update: Bulgaria property and living

Latest information from the international portal Primelocation shows that searches for Bulgarian property have increased. The data reports a 134% increase in overseas property searches during January 2010, compared with January last year.

Cyprus, Turkey and Bulgaria marked the highest monthly increases. The company said that the figures reflect a broader range of buyers looking at home ownership overseas, rather than those seeking return on investment. Primelocation commented that there was a 'renewed sense of confidence' filtering through.

It looks increasingly likely that the smoking ban for restaurants will be put back, even until 2011. Bulgaria has the second highest percentage of smokers in the European Union but the ban will be deferred on the basis of potential damage to businesses in the tourist industry during the economic crisis. Restaurants, clubs and cafes will be able to decide if they will allow smoking if there premises are smaller than 100 sq.m - larger places must provide a separate smoking area.

Those who have a property in Bulgaria should be aware that council tax is due from 1 March. The council tax covers tax on the property and garbage collection. Deadline for payment is 30 April, although it is possible to pay in four instalments if desired, with the remaining payments due end June, September and November. If you pay the council tax in full by the deadline of 30 April, then you get a 5% discount.

Smile - Lottery tickets. We were extremely surprised this week when buying a lottery ticket in our local small town. We decided on a 'lucky dip' and stood expecting the till to churn out the ticket and the numbers. We should have known better. Only in Bulgaria - the girl grabbed a pen and marked up the numbers on our ticket at random for us !